Indy Documentary Leads To Criminal Investigations Of Officers Involved In Statewide Drug Recognition Program

Thursday, May 10th, 2012 at 6:14 am

On Wednesday, a big statewide story broke involving allegations that law enforcement was giving illegal drugs to citizens, and then watching them and questioning them after these citizens got high. Officials have since put a state trooper on paid leave, launched a criminal probe into a Hutchinson officer and halted what they say was originally a police training program.

This all started just over a week ago when allegations were made in a documentary film that officers gave civilians marijuana to smoke in front of them during a program called the DRE program: the acronym means Drug Recognition Evaluator. The program is meant to allow officers to observe people who are high on drugs in a controlled environment, so they can recognize similar behavior when making traffic stops.

The Star Tribune reports that twenty-six officers from 18 agencies all around the state participated in last week’s training in Minneapolis and Richfield. We know that at least two of those agencies were the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office and the Kanabec County Sheriff’s office because their squad cars were seen in the video.

Law officers paid visits to Peavey Plaza, the site of the recent Occupy protests, to find subjects for their training exercise. The documentary film clearly shows Occupy protesters climbing into the backs of squad cars, and then returning several hours later insisting that they were given as much as a quarter of an ounce of marijuana and often insisting that the officers were also trying to ascertain information on the Occupy movement. Some also claimed they were given free food and cigarettes.

No officers from Chisago or Kanabec County have been named in the current investigation, but subjects in the documentary were clearly seen climbing into the backs of squad cars from both agencies.

The topic came up at the Minneapolis City Council meeting last week when that DRE Program subject said this…

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The man you just heard is named Forrest, and he’s with the Occupy movement. In the video (watch below) you will see him get into the back of both a Kanabec County squad car, and a Chisago County squad car on two separate occasions.

Most media outlets were ignoring this story until an officer participating in the training actually came forward with similar allegations. Then, the state Department of Public Safety announced the suspension of the Drug Recognition Evaluator (DRE) program, a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension probe of the unnamed Hutchinson officer, and the state trooper was put on leave.

Here is the documentary film, made by Twin Cities Indymedia, Rogue Media, Communities United Against Police Brutality, and Occupy Minneapolis.


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